Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 9 of CBS' "Under the Dome," titled "The Fourth Hand."
The season is winding down, but CBS is still throwing every possible scenario our way. It's been a very busy eight days in Chester's Mill, and Monday's episode just adds to the crazy.
This week, Julia tries to show Barbie the mini-dome and egg situation, but when they arrive to the spot in the forest, it's no longer there. Before Julia can enlist Barbie to find the missing alien egg with her, he gets a page from Linda urging him to come to the other side of town because "shots have been fired." What we've learned so far: every day someone dies.
When Barbie arrives, he finds that there was a neighbor's quarrel after a town druggie broke into a man's house and went ballistic. Turns out, the addict was on 'rapture,' the good stuff that Reverend Coggins was supplying. Apparently, God's messenger also claimed the drug was the same as visiting heaven. What a good salesman!
At the diner, Angie is holding down the fort. She asked Big Jim for a promotion to manager, but he has to think it over. Either Big Jim is getting handfuls of applications from qualified managers who want to run a restaurant in the middle of a crisis for a paycheck that's no good in the town or I smell discrimination. Because there's no food at the diner, Angie only has one customer. But fear not, Junior (AKA the guy who looks vaguely like James Franco) strolls in soon enough. After a few protests, Angie decides to hear him out, but before she has a chance, she has a seizure and falls to the ground, reciting the "pink stars" line.
When Angie wakes up, she does so in the back of Junior's cop car but surprisingly, he lets her go at her house. Before he leaves, he promises her that he'll see her again. You know, in case she had any concern that it would be hard to find each other while trapped under the dome.
Meanwhile, Big Jim has an unexpected visitor. Nine episodes in and we finally meet another person involved in the rarely-mentioned propane scheme. Max, a stereotypical beautiful-yet-intimidating woman is apparently the face behind the whole operation. She doesn't live in Chester's Mill, but happened to be on her way to visit Big Jim the day the dome came down and just decided to appear now. She's pissed off that things are going awry and bosses Big Jim around to fix it.
While Big Jim is dealing with the ghosts of his not-quite-past, Barbie and Linda decide to visit Reverend Coggins' funeral home for evidence of drugs. They find bags of paraphernalia and evidence "hidden" in caskets, including a handwritten recipe (just like mom's!) for the rapture drug.
When they return to the station, Big Jim is waiting for them with a plan. He suggests that in light of recent events, they should ask the townspeople to turn in their guns. For a few minutes, the show gets oddly political as Linda argues that the citizens have the right to bear arms. Obviously the suggestion is shady coming from Big Jim, but when an entire town is trapped and unwieldy, I'm not sure the Second Amendment should apply. Regardless, Linda gives in and Big Jim makes an announcement on the radio asking that people "voluntarily" turn in their firearms.
In the most unbelievable twist yet, the residents comply and hand over their guns to Rennie. Except for a quick interlude where Big Jim turns up at the home of a resident who refuses to give away his guns and talks him down from committing suicide via hand grenade, things go pretty much according to Jim's plan. Except, while he and Barbie are going through the guns, we find out it wasn't really Jim's plan after all. Max was behind the idea, but before she has much time to really thank Rennie for his hard work, she walks over and plants one on Barbie. In a really screwed up triangle, we find out that Barbie knows Max (he bought her a drink once?), Rennie is still working for Max and Max has the whole thing planned out. When Barbie doesn't agree to be part of their scheme, Max threatens to tell Julia about Barbie's past.
In non-corrupt cop news, Linda decides to pay a visit to the propane shelter. While there, she watches a security tape that shows an unnamed woman (Max) doing business with Duke. Poor Linda has to find out the hard way that her beloved sheriff was pretty sketchy.
Junior is on his way to join Linda when Angie appears at the station. In what's surely Junior's dream come true, Angie asks for his help because she thinks he can tell her how she's connected to the dome. Junior leads her to his mom's art studio (now a dim and dusty garage with a few canvases strewn around) and shows her a painting that he thinks will clear everything up. When his mom was still alive, she had a dream that compelled her to rush to her studio and paint a picture of Junior surrounded by pink stars. (Hopefully Junior's mom kept her day job.) Junior convinces Angie that this means they're linked by something huge.
Speaking of being linked to something huge, Norrie and Joe go on a search for the missing egg. Just when their adventure seems futile, the dog starts to bark at the barn next to Joe's house. They open the doors to find they have a glittery egg visitor. Who needs a pony when you have an alien egg? Norrie and Joe are in shock when Angie walks in to get in on the fun. She says Joe woke up at 3 a.m. that morning and left the house "like a zombie" and clearly brought the egg here. Joe has no recollection, but because there's no other way it could have moved here, he buys it.
Angie, Norrie and Joe all reach out for the egg at the same time, causing the mini-dome to emit a blue light. As their hands are surrounding the egg, Norrie makes a profound observation: "It's almost like these are locks and our hands are the keys." As soon as she says it, a missing hand print illuminates on the other side of the dome, indicating that they need one more person to "unlock" the secret.
"Under the Dome" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
"Big Jim doesn't see himself as a bad guy. He thinks he's doing right, he thinks he is the chosen leader of the town. He does save the town a number of times. Certain people, if they keep the trains running, see themselves as the right person for the job even though the way they go about doing that isn't necessarily all that kosher. There's a side of him that's as dark as ever. He has moments where he'll go to the dark side like that, which is really the fun part about playing him. I would really like the audience to go, 'Big Jim's a sweet guy, he's not really a bad guy,' then all of a sudden, in a heartbeat, the reptilian part comes out."
"The dome is a device, it's a fish bowl, and you put a bunch of fish in a fish bowl and bang on it and you see how they react. You'll see some fish eat other fish, you'll have other fish fight the fish that are eating the other fish, but that's kind of what this is, an experiment. But, also, we're dealing with the added element of what is this thing, where did it come from, is it man-made, is it other-worldly? What are the limitations of this world in which we now find outselves?"
"How do I play a character who is so determined not to examine her own life and her own choices and how far will I go in pursuit of a story to avoid that? The more my own life starts to fall apart in the show, the more obsessed I have to be with the dome and everything that's happening in Chester's Mill. We flirt with every possible outcome that thing could be. We examine it in many, many, many ways and it's still standing at the end of the day, so draw your own conclusions as to what that is, why that is, how that is, but as far as where we are in episode 10 right now, we're still perplexed and finding out some interesting stuff."
"There are two sides to Junior, the public persona that his dad wants him to be, the town jock and bully jerk, and there's the broken child that is inside Junior that he probably is more connected to because of past history with family and losing his mother at a young age. He finds this thing in Angie that fills this gap that's missing in his heart. He gets obsessed and wants to keep that quality. He wants to keep that love as much as he can so he does what he does."
"It's not like we have a clear trajectory of where we're going. We just get to play it episode by episode, which is awesome. It's so much more fun that way because we're living it as the characters are. In a show like this, we can go at any moment. I'm not dead yet..."
"I felt he was kind of simple, but because of his lack of parents (who are on the outside) and his sister isn't around, he has to grow up a little bit. He has to figure things out. So Joe does a lot of growing up in the first episodes. He goes on his instincts. Joe loves this. The dome may be a scary thing but it's also the most exciting thing that's ever happened in Chester's Mill. It's something to talk about, to think about; what is this thing and how can he figure it out? What does he have to do?"
"With Linda, what you see is what you get. As to why I stayed in town and why I became a cop, why I'm such a tough girl and I don't have parents, there's a story to be had there. But for the most part, what you see is what you get. It's very vulnerable, when you have somebody that doesn't have a clear past or history, it's like, Where are you gonna go? Who are you, really? Is the dome going to change you?"
"It's interesting where [the writers are] going; we make our speculations and we're totally wrong and blown away. There are some skills you have in life and in a crisis situation, they're heightened. [Dodee] gets a line to the outside world. Technology makes sense to her, people don't. Stepping out of the radio station and getting to interact with everyone, it's different. Because she doesn't necessarily trust anyone. She's keeping everything that she's finding pretty close to her and not really trusting everyone. She has some unique skill sets that she doesn't want everyone to know that she has."
"A lot of times, network TV isn't notable for bravery because what happens is you have a lot of executives who feel like the concept is a Christmas turkey. This is the most beautiful Christmas turkey I have ever seen. Let's sit down and have dinner. And when dinner is over, we're going to turkey sandwiches, and then the next day we're going to have turkey meatloaf and the day after that we're going to have turkey tetrazzini, turkey soup until there's nothing left but the bones. There's a tendency to run things until they're threadbare. I have no idea how far they're going to go or what they're going to do with it. But the one thing I've said to all the writers and to the people, the executives who are involved with this is, let's be thinking ahead all the time about how we're going to button this up. Because what guys like me do is, I run the story. And there's always more surprise. There can always be another story. And if you like 'Under the Dome' well then maybe there'll be something else that will come along. Who knows?"
Follow Ashley Knierim on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ashknierim